Review: Mindhorn (12A)

Co-written by and starring Julian Barratt, Mindhorn sees the former Mighty Boosh star make an effortless bid for big screen stardom with a rich comedy creation that puts a distinctively British spin on the monster that is minor celebrity.

FADING STAR: Julian as Richard Longcroft in Minhorn.
FADING STAR: Julian as Richard Longcroft in Minhorn.

The title is the name of the naff British super cop Barratt’s fading actor, the wonderfully monikered Richard Longcroft, once played in a hit TV show in the 1980s. Pitched somewhere between The Professionals, The Bionic Man and Bergerac (it was set on the Isle of Man), the show brought Longcroft a degree of fame but no humility, which saw him burn all his bridges before heading off to America in a failed bid to break Hollywood.

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All of which is hilariously sketched out in the opening minutes, something that makes his subsequent fall all the more tragic when we catch up with him as a middle-aged, overweight, hairpiece-sporting actor who can’t even hold down a gig advertising orthopedic socks.

Mindhorn distinguishes itself with a high-concept premise that sees Longcroft returning 
to the Isle of Man to help the local police draw out a delusional killer who thinks Mindhorn is real.

As Longcroft attempts to exploit the PR opportunities of his new role to relaunch his career, the subsequent gag rate is ridiculously high, but Barratt also knows how to mine pathos from the character without getting all sentimental.